The Segmenting Spectator: Documentary Structure and The Aristocrats

Abstract

This article argues that an emphasis on how spectators piece together documentary structure is more useful than nonfiction film theory’s focus on epistemology and categorization. By examining individual texts such as The Aristocrats, critics can develop a set of devices that provide a better explanation of documentary comprehension at the local level. As an example, this article shows how a spectatorial position as an insider in the comedy world and the device of the “conversational turn” help us both segment the documentary flow and unify it.

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